The governments of two European countries, Malta and the Principality of Andorra, announced that they have definitive plans to integrate the blockchain technology into their current system for storing educational certificates issued by the academic institutions. The officials explained that their decision was motivated by security considerations.
Identity manipulation and theft is as serious an issue in academic circles as it is in the global society. There had been numerous instances which involved cybercriminals creating fake profiles of well-known researchers or hack a university database and steal personal and academic data of its students with the purpose of selling it to a third-party.
Last year, the infamous hacker, who goes under the nickname Rasputin, had singlehandedly organized a data breach of 63 universities in the United States and the UK along with several American government agencies. The list of victims included such reputable universities as Cambridge, Oxford, Cornell, Virginia Tech, and the Rochester Institute of Technology. Thousands of sensitive data records had been either corrupted or stolen in the course of the cyber attack. Perhaps, this malicious act was one of the reasons that convinced the governments of Malta and the Principality of Andorra to start looking for ways to protect their educational establishments against the encroachments into their databases.
The government of the Republic of Malta, an island country in the south of Europe, have signed a two-year agreement with Learning Machine, a blockchain company that is focused on providing solutions for secure storage of digital credentials, instant verification of records, and development of self-sovereign identity. Put simply, the government agencies and universities of Malta will be capable of storing and issuing official certificates, which could also be instantly verified by any corresponding institution of the world, directly on the blockchain.
Learning Machine is also involved in a joint project with the MIT Media Lab called Blockcerts which provides for the creation of an open standard for generating and working with encrypted certificates.
The signing of this agreement could become a stepping stone for Malta on its way to becoming the ‘blockchain island’. It stipulates that from now on, all educational certificates, even those issued by secondary schools, seminaries, and independent educational institutions, will be created, approved and distributed via blockchain.
The signing ceremony, which took place at the Auberge de Castille, was attended by Joseph Muscat, the Prime Minister of Malta, who didn’t miss the opportunity to lay emphasis on the progress that his government made in the attempt to reduce the bureaucratization, facilitate the certification procedures, and ensure the absolute security of educational data.
The officials of the Principality of Andorra, a microstate situated on the Iberian Peninsula, have also communicated their definitive decision to transfer all of their existing educational records to the blockchain platform which was developed by Andorra Telecom, the country’s leading telecom company. By making the switch to blockchain, Andorra’s government will be laying the groundwork for the possible waiver of the Hague Apostille, an international treaty, signed by 115 countries, which concerns the issuance and certification of legal documents.
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